My Only Swerving

A musical interlude to enrich the silence of my inactive blog...

Please welcome, among my favorite bands of '08– El Ten Eleven!

(I'm really hoping to put out a horoscope after finals week! Everything's direct don't hold back now! Momentum, momentum, momentum!)



The most powerful teachers are those that ask the best questions.




There can be no society without poetry, but society can never be realized as poetry, it is never poetic. Sometimes the two terms seek to break apart. They cannot.
- Octavio Paz



It is... good to love: because love is difficult. For one human being to love another human being: that is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us, the ultimate task, the final test and proof, the work for which all other work is merely preparation... Loving does not at first mean merging, surrendering, and uniting with another person... it is a high inducement for the individual to ripen, to become something in himself for the sake of another person; it is a great, demanding claim on him, something that chooses him and calls him to vast distances
-ranier maria rilke


poem loom: part 1

This is a prototype for a piece I'm working on at school in my project design studio. Some details here.


poetry moment...


Autumn eats its leaf out of my hand: we are friends.
From the nuts we shell time and we teach it to walk:
then time returns to the shell.

In the mirror it’s Sunday,
in dream there is room for sleeping,
our mouths speak the truth.

My eye moves down to the sex of my loved one:
we look at each other,
we exchange dark words,
we love each other like poppy and recollection,
we sleep like wine in the conches,
like the sea in the moon’s blood ray.

We stand by the window embracing, and people look up from the street:
it is time they new!
It is time the stone made an effort to flower,
time unrest had a beating heart.

It is time it were time.

It is time.

-Paul Celan




Imprisoned by four walls

(to the North, the crystal of non-knowledge

a landscape to be invented

to the South, reflective memory

to the East, the mirror

to the West, stone and the song of silence)

I wrote messages, but received no reply.

-Octavio Paz


Who the F*ck is D&G?

Geometry and arithmetic take on the power of the scalpel. Private property implies a space that has been overcoded and gridded by surveying.

From A Thousand Plateaus
Chapter 9. 1933: Micropolitics and Segmentarity, p. 212


Mercury Retrograde!

In lieu of a proper horoscope for yesterday's new moon in Libra (I just can't muster that kind of focus while adjusting to my my gigs and digs in Santa Cruz.), I'll offer up some observations on pesky Mercury's recurring mischievous motion. Here's the physics...
The animated illustration above represents retrograde motion from a geocentric (earth - centered) perspective. Here the earth is depicted in the center of a planetary orbit, for example Mars. [Or Mercury in our case. *e] Because the earth is assumed to be fixed and stable in the center of the cosmos (geocentric and geostatic), and further, all heavenly bodies are assumed to move around the central earth, some device was needed to describe the apparent retrograde loop that planets make when in opposition to the sun. To account for the apparent backward looping of the planet, Claudius Ptolemy (fl. 140 AD) devised a very elegant geometrical construction to describe this motion. His model involved a large circle (deferent) and a second smaller circle (epicycle) on which the planet moved. The result was that the planet moved with a double motion. Specifically, the planet moved with uniform angular speed around the center of the epicycle, and in turn, the center of the epicycle moved with uniform angular speed around the equant point. The equant point, by definition, was an imaginary point situated near the earth. Its exact position varied from planet to planet. In each case its location was determined by observation and calculation. The result was a simple and accurate description of planetary motion. But theory aside, what would you see? Viewed from earth, the planet would appear to undergo a 'looping' retrograde motion against the backdrop of the 'fixed stars.' To all appearances, the planet would move in its direct order, gradually slow down and finally appear to stop (stationary point one). The planet would then appear to reverse its direction (undergo retrograde). After reversing direction the planet would again slow down and appear to stop a second time (stationary point two). Finally, the planet it would reverse direction a second time and continue to move its original direction. In sum, from a geocentric perspective, retrograde motion was one of the major astronomical problems requiring attention in order to 'save the appearances.' To this end, Ptolemy's model was unsurpassed for simplicity, accuracy, and elegance until Copernicus some 1400 years later.
The consequences from an astrological perspective vary. Irritating miscommunications, missed connections, mechanical and digital malfunctions, can occur with unusually heightened frequency. Already I've locked my keys in my office. (45 minutes before starting my first discussion section as a teaching assistant!) I've been sleeping on the floor because the mattress I ordered has yet to be delivered. My cell phone hates me and doesn't seem to work for sh*t. The UC can't get my name right. The whole electronic database that is the hive mind of the UCSC is a non-negotiable morass and it's maybe too kind to blame Mercury for it, but here's to hoping. Most of my students can't get their text books... I pulled a muscle in my leg...my cat is wearing a cone on her head and I shoot bubble gum flavored antibiotics down her throat twice a day. Among many astrologist the term "Mercury retrofucked" covers the profanity inducing frustrations for which the motion is blamed. I will say, for myself, that these are little things. Minor. And when I keep the bigger picture in mind and focus on what is really important all systems are ahead full speed. Roxie's fine and so am I.

Mercury retrogrades serve best those individuals who are patient, flexible, and willing to improvise when things don't quite work out the way one had planned. Although, some proper planning may keep the retrograde from really tripping you up. There are two sensations I attribute to Mercury's retrograde. One is the feeling of apparent backwards motion. It's a good time to review, clean, clear the decks, reduce drag, get old news and business out of your way because- and this is second feeling associated with a mercury retrograde- we are prone to accelerated forward motion, because, in fact, we are all still moving forward. Consider two cars on the freeway. When your vehicle accelerates past another, the slower vehicle will appear to be moving backwards. So, for those of us who've gotten all the distractions out of the way, and can keep up with the kind of running down hill pace of Mercury's six week mission. You're streamlined and good to go. Stay relaxed and focused while you review and run to keep up with a few weeks of high pace. You'll likely get a lot done, more quickly than you might have thought with truer purpose. Although with mercury you never know what unexpected messages might pop up.

It's a mixed bag. Keeps us on our toes. Think of the ancient messengers winged feet. Try to step light. Not too fixed in our position. The Sun in Libra too, helps us with our balance. Makes clear perhaps those things that are preventing us from getting to where we want to be. The potential here is to get there faster, the unplanned segues and glitches towards realizing our vision may offer up some secret short cuts, clarity about what's most important, what really needs to be said, where were really hoping to go, and why. Why? Libra also wants to know with whom. So, stay friendly in the face of frustration. Allies are everywhere. Make the effort to be extra nice, bend where you can. There's luck in this too if you can keep up!

Mercury is retrograde in Libra from Thurs. September 25 until Wed. October 15. The undertow return journey until Mercury returns to its pre-retrograde position has its own thrills and hazards. November 1 we return to "normal" mercurial motion. Enjoy the ride!

Elizabeth Travelslight is an October Scorpio with a Gemini rising and a Virgo moon. She has been studying tarot and astrology since 1996. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, she has a B.A. in Pure Mathematics from the University of California at Santa Cruz and almost has her M.A. in Communication, with an emphasis on poetry and contemporary philosophy, from the European Graduate School in Saas Fee, Switzerland.

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”
-William Shakespeare

I feel like most of you readers are pretty savvy folks who don't need "how-to" horoscope instructions. But since I’m still feeling new to the whole horoscope scene, here is a friendly disclaimer...



sometimes wishes come true and we have to bear all their consequences– and so it was the case with our little fairy.
-julia hölzl


D & G

We are always afraid of losing. Our security, the great molar organization that sustains us, the arborescences we cling to, the binary machines that give us well-defined status, the resonances we enter into, the system of overcoding that dominates us–we desire all that... "in flight from flight." We flee from flight, rigidify our segments, give ourselves over to binary logic; the harder they have been to us on one segment, the harder we will be on another... The more rigid the segmentarity, the more reassuring it is for us. That is what fear is, and how it makes us retreat into the first line.

-Deleuze & Guttari, A Thousand Plateaus, Chapter 9. 1933:
Micropolitics and Segmentarity
(p. 227)


Your Pisces Full Moon Horoscope

Maybe it’s just me, but ever since Jupiter did its direct thing on Tuesday- I’ve been getting sh*t done! All about business. Moving, school, rest, moving, school, rest- that’s what my days have been like and I complain not. Through it all, Santa Cruz remains one of the most (like ridiculously) relaxing and beautiful places I know. (Dude.) Counting my blessings... walk circle.

This is what I’ve got for the moment. Fortune cookie length. A horoscope to go. Mahal, mahal, mahal. I wish you well!

This full moon is served with forward motion in an expansive but practical way. We don’t even feel like procrastinating. No need. Getting’ it done is satisfying. We want to. We can’t help it. We grow from handling our business. We welcome duty as truly inspired effort. With the Virgo/Pisces full moon waxing upon us over the weekend, hopefully we find that our ambitions feel harmoniously in sync with the forces around us. Look for luck. Go for hope. The moon loves to be in Pisces, making all kinds of waves, stirring things up. Be ready for opportunity, changes in course. Who knows what may wash up on your shore. Or wash away. Attend to the details too! Virgo is still the season. A little care and there's no need to only wish. Discipline and practical purpose combine with some creative/intuitive innovations encouraging us feel like we’re working toward something holy, higher, utopic -the beautiful world, the beautiful lives, we have in mind- so long as we keep the tension in relaxed balance. Not too much day dreaming, not too much criticism. Both tend to withhold us from action! The full moon suggests we find a balance between unlikenesses in opposition. Dreaming and deciding both. It’s risky. But we get it done! Try listening to intuitions, then act, follow the voice through. When in doubt, communicate your thoughts, build creative partnerships, networks, put technology to the test. A trine in air signs works for us if we do the work. Whatever you’ve got to say, say it soon, write it down and don’t resist Jupiter’s forward motion. Mercury goes retrograde on September 24. It’s likely then that things will go a little less smoothly as we’re susceptible to miscommunications, missed connections, minor malfunctions. So many reason to be motivated now! The sailing is smooth with the winds at our backs. Tight ship and were good to go though the weather changes.

The full moon in Picses (22°54') is on Monday, September 15 at 2:13 AM PDT. (That’s Sunday night, y’all!)

Aries: New beginnings. It’s an adventure. Feel free to let it all go and step with confidence. Have high hopes for the unexpected.

Taurus: It’s the culmination of many things. You’ve arrived. You and your place in the world. Just so. Tidy. But then what...

Gemini: Heads may roll. If your feel like you can’t take it anymore, like you just don’t deserve that... Take matters in to your own capable hands.

Cancer: Hi ho. Hi ho. It’s off to work we go... Dang you’re handy.

Leo: Enjoy. Follow enjoyment. No. No need to follow actually. It’s all around you. And you shine it back so easy.

Virgo: You’re the boss. Maybe it get's messy, but you're the boss for a reason.

Libra: Ooooooh. Ooooooh. Oooooooh. From the outside looking in- all we can say is... you go. You’re setting the example many will follow.

Scorpio: How does your garden grow? Continue to invest and prune and tend. You’ll be pleasantly satisfied with the ripening results. Maybe money does grow on trees?

Sagittarius: You’re in charge. Whatever color you want. Wherever you want. Continue to be ever so gracious, most are helpless to resist your requests.

Capricorn: The great thing about having to choose from a menu of delicious options is that no matter which you choose... you’re certain to enjoy the results. So, what’ll it be?

Aquarius: Cha-ching! Kick back with some satisfaction. You go it all. Maybe it’s a little boring, but- worry not. Looking for excitement? Feel free to give. We know you love that. We love it too.

Pisces: This full moon is all yours. You do with it what you like. The Pisces thing. Most probably won’t get it. But neither should you care. When in doubt...beauty sleep.

* ** ***
Elizabeth Travelslight is an October Scorpio with a Gemini rising and a Virgo moon. She has been studying tarot and astrology since 1996. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, she has a B.A. in Pure Mathematics from the University of California at Santa Cruz and almost has her M.A. in Communication, with an emphasis on poetry and contemporary philosophy, from the European Graduate School in Saas Fee, Switzerland.

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”
-William Shakespeare

I feel like most of you readers are pretty savvy folks who don't need "how-to" horoscope instructions. But since I’m still feeling new to the whole horoscope scene, here is a friendly disclaimer...


Only the Lull I Like

"I believe in you in my soul....the other I am must not abase itself to you,
And you must not be abased to the other.

Loaf with me on the grass....loose the stop from your throat,
Not words, not music, not rhyme I want....not custom or lecture, not even the best,
Only the lull I like, the hum of your valved voice.

I mind how we lay in June, such a transparent summer morning;
You settled your head athwart my hips and gently turned over upon me,

And parted the shirt from my bosom-bone, and plunged your tongue to my barestripped heart,
And reached till you felt my beard, and reached till you held my feet."

-Walt Whitman


Your Virgo New Moon Horoscope!

This new moon belongs to lovely, private, do-good, perfectionist Virgo. We continue many of the themes from the full moon but with determined purpose and pratical action. Busy, busy. Decisions decisions. We’re inspired to give our close surroundings a keen critical eye. We are moved to improve, including and especially our health and home. Saturn accompanying the sun and moon may lend our considerations extra seriousness or gravity. Although Mars, Mercury, and Venus in ever companionable Libra keep it friendly and in tune. We may be inspired to change up our more immoderate habits, clean out a drawer or a closet, give our lives a little extra elbo grease, take better care of ourselves, tend the gardens. Virgo conincides with late summer harvests. We’ll reap what we’ve sown and celebrate the results of our efforts. The results may seem mixed and unexpected. But we celebrate them anyway! Then prepare for fall. (Back to school?) Jupiter still retrograde in Capricorn keeps giving me this nagging feeling that there’s much to do and it doesn’t seem to quite get done. It a good time then to get clarity about what those things are, to-do lists, priorities, time tables. Virgo rings with sacrifice and letting go– and the reward that comes with that too. What would you be willing to give up to realize a little heaven on earth? Virgo is still asking. Heaven starts with you and moves out from there. What small thing would make your day or someone else’s day just a little bit better? We can play angels.

The new moon in Virgo (7°48') is on Saturday, August 30 at 12:58 PM PDT.

Aries: Discipline, Aries. What does that mean to you? There’s a lot of potential to be tapped. This new moon suggests you call upon your most mature and sophisticated self. Not to sound over-serious, only to say that you’re in a place of incredible personal potential (as usual) but you could really create something long lasting if you meet the occasion and all the right people with a sincere sense purpose and commitment. Bring all your experience to bear.

Taurus: Ah ha! You’re making a break through Taurus. All the Virgo activity maybe is revealing clearly what’s holding you back, what's gotta give as opposed to what you should continue to count on. Go with the changes! Bust out! Bloom! Likely you’ve been puzzling over what to do for a while. Ruminating in that steady thoughtful way of yours. So if anyone can move forward with confidence, it’s you. The new and the beautiful are looking for you too.

Gemini: Keep doing what your doing. Follow through. I picture you in some multitasking circus mode. One you and a gazillion tricks, details, costumes puzzles and amazing feats in some complex choreography. You’re in that zone. Trust the actions and momentum you’ve set in motion at this point. Have confidence in your Gemini ways. We’ll watch and wonder. Focus on what’s in front of you and then the next thing. Then the next. One thing at a time should keep you from losing your grip if it gets really hectic. No hurry. New moon is calling your attention to home, family, and mom.

Cancer: It’s deep Cancer. How deep does it go? This new moon has got you thinking. You’re so cute when you’re pensive. And you’re looking for some continuity. I’m thinking now’s a good time to get to know your roots/routes. Where you come from. How you got here. The big epic picture. Maybe a new little altar to keep you company at home? Something tangible to help you bring it all together, sort it out– help you to remember what keeps you going in a good way and what’s just extra baggage.

Leo: New eyes Leo. This new moon brings some renewed innocence in the world. How refreshing! How gentle. How lucky you are that everything could reappear so uncontrived, it’s place and purpose just so. It’s not a naïve perspective. Very well informed actually. You’re allowing yourself a wise trust in the great little workings of the world. It’s giving you some brilliant ideas, new inspiration, further insight. Enjoy the wonder.

Virgo: Apples and oranges, Virgo. Apples and oranges. Consider difference. What, below the surface, really matters and what is merely cosmetic. Compare and contrast. How can different things go well together? How can we learn from holding difference together? Or when must we discriminate and decide– one or the other? What serves its best purpose where? This one? Or that one? Here? Or there? Rhetorical questions, I know. You may have to make some tough calls– differences and decision, but for now you could get away with just studying the options. Analysis and the phenomena of difference and non-difference.

Libra: Coming together. Slowly but surely things are falling into place! Inside and out. Venus, Mercury, and Mars are so working for you. So much possibility at your fingertips. All the action still left in Virgo is kind of like cleaning up after a wild cosmic party. It’s a promising situation. A calm after storms. Optimum results will require all your skills of dynamic equilibrium. Keep it light. Do your dance. Flexible. Thoughtful. Lovely. We’re watching. Taking notes even.

Scorpio: On the outside looking in? You’re holding yourself back from something you know you deserve. What is it? Don’t be too quick to blame others or unfortunate circumstances for standing between you and your little desire. You’re too independent and resourceful for that. Consider the possibility that you are deserving. Give yourself permission. Say, “I’m allowed.” You’re allowed. It’s a start. No one and nothing is really in your way but you.

Sagittarius: Your hands are full Sag. You’re rich. Seems like you’ve got it all, but– now what? This new moon is making many years of achievement very clear. Top of your game, but... If you’re feeling a bit stuck, nervous, or unsatisfied– let me encourage you to light some fires. Free up some energy. Change a few forms. Take some risks. Risk, not caution, is what got you where you are in the first place, right? Your derring-do. Why stop now?

Capricorn: Time to take a trip, Cap. Inner space is calling and the air fare is free! I encourage you to get some quality quiet time this new moon. Tune in. Way in. You’ve got goals, people, places, things– of course. However, the who, what, where, when, how... all those necessary details must follow the why. Why are those your goals? Answer that and the rest might follow more easily. Patience. Silence.

Aquarius: Hmmmm. Just don’t go there. Not that far. It’s not necessary. You know that. It’s neither helpful or healthy. It’s keeping you from moving forward, which is what you’d really like, which is maybe what is most frightening. So know what you know, learn what you’ve learned. Then take the next step. Forward. Beating yourself up is getting you nowhere, only holding your brilliance back. Gentle works just as well. Make it a new song.

Pisces: A little twisted Pisces. Whatever you’re looking for is not in your head. The issue is just getting cluttered up in there. Better maybe to try and get out of your head. Open up if you’re feeling stuck. All your senses. Every channel. You don’t have know or think anything. Try letting some new information, new influences in, without over thinking it. Relax. Also, try to put yourself out there. Nothing big, but get the juices flowing. Start small. Your closest friends and family, those trustworthy and enduring relations provide a safe place for you to gain some perspective by letting go.

*** ** *
Like the horoscopes? Need some more perspective? There is definitely a bigger picture. Individual tarot and astrology consultations are available. (They make great gifts too!) Here is www.geocitiescom/etravelslight/tarotastrology for more information.

Elizabeth Travelslight is an October Scorpio with a Gemini rising and a Virgo moon. She has been studying tarot and astrology since 1996. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, she has a B.A. in Pure Mathematics from the University of California at Santa Cruz and almost has her M.A. in Communication, with an emphasis on poetry and contemporary philosophy, from the European Graduate School in Saas Fee, Switzerland.

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” I feel like most of you readers are pretty savvy folks who don't need "how-to" horoscope instructions. But here is a friendly disclaimer...



On Exactitude in Science . . . In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the map of the Empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it. The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast Map was Useless, and not without some Pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography.

Suarez Miranda,Viajes de varones prudentes, Libro IV,Cap. XLV, Lerida, 1658



If the Americans had never committed genocide against the Indians; if they had never incited wars of annihilation between the native peoples of the land, if there had never been a Trail of Tears; if America had never organized and commercialized the kidnapping and sale into slavery of a gentle and defenseless African people; if it had never developed the most widespread brutal, exploitative system of slavery the world has ever known; if it had never attacked a gallant, defenseless Puerto Rico and never turned that lovely land into a cesspool to compete with the cesspool it created in Panama; if it had never bled Latin America of her wealth and had never cast her exhausted people onto the dung heap of disease and ignorance and starvation; if it had never pushed Hiroshima and Nagasaki into the jaws of hell –if America had never done any of these things– history would still create a special bar of judgment for what America did to the Philippines.

-Nelson Peery, Black Fire


Your Aquarius Full Moon Horoscope

Considering the upcoming Leo/Aquarius full moon, I keep coming back to this image from the Rider Waite Tarot. This full moon can’t help but call our attention to all the action over in the Leo/Virgo part of sky. The STRENGTH (XIII) card illustrates the combination of Leo and Virgo quite nicely. The young virgin has gently tamed the wild and forceful lion. It’s an image of great care– strength and strength of purpose, in harmony. When reaching into a lion’s mouth, do not hesitate or second guess your actions! This is not a time of timidity, but of discipline and determination. This full moon calls our attention to each person’s unique place in the universe. Your star in the sky. It asks us to balance our bright individual egos with a shared vision of collective purpose. Sun in Leo should be helping us get clear about who we are, what we want, and what we have to share. (Me! Me! Me!) The moon in Aquarius will keep it all in greater perspective. (We! We! We!) The universe has innumerable centers. You’re just one. But an important one. We should feel like we have more than enough energy for anything. Our right actions should feed us. Not exhaust us. Follow the enjoyment of service. Mars, Venus, Mercury, and Saturn are all in Virgo, asking us to consider and create the possibility and meaning of heaven on earth. Not necessarily a religious heaven, but the best possible world for the most possible people. Starts with you. Look around. What needs to be valued and appreciated more deeply? Attend to details and the easily overlooked mundane things with greater care and attention. Where is there room for improvement? Make room. Full moon should make clear the difference between the necessary and the unnecessary. Get excited about throwing things overboard. If you really need it, may it wash upon your ashore again. More future, less past. Last, how can we approach together a better life with confidence, patience, innovation and practical determination? It begins with strength and intention. Virgo and Leo request we make it pure and let it shine.

love, *elizabeth**

P.S. As ever, it's a work in progress. I welcome your feedback and love your comments!

The full moon in Aquarius (24°21') is on Saturday, August 16 at 2:16 PM PDT. Look up on Friday and/or Saturday night. Say “Hi!” Try to change up your perspective with a little moonlight. Not because we have to, but just because we can. See if you surprise yourself with an unexpected point of view.

Aries: Sitting pretty. Kicking back. That’s how I see you, Aries. Centered and content. Now may be a good time to tend to your fort/nest/cave/studio/dwelling place. Enjoy it. Invite others to join in. Assess all situations and potential for opportunities from a reclining position. Full moon offers plenty of insight about larger purposes, but no action yet. Rest up. Hang out. Grounding, awareness, contented friendly patience. Don’t attract more until you’re certain of what you have and whether there’s any room for more. (Try a shovel?)

Taurus: Let it go, Taurus. Feel the freedom of just letting it all go. How dramatic are the changes you’re willing to make? Not just on the outside. But on the inside too. It involves clearing out the funk. Trust your instinct for beauty. Trust that there is more than enough and you lose nothing in letting things go. Just gain more room for better things. More love. More flow. (Drink lots of water.)

Gemini: Feeling clueless in all your wisdom? It’s possible you’re taking in and processing A LOT of information. The world may seem completely different than it did before. Try to honor the brilliance of those fresh eyes and brand new perspectives. It seems like there have never been more possibilities. More choices. No need to decide anything now. Daydream and discuss. Your friends want to hear all about it. Feel everything out with your words. Your only commitment is to take one step at a time, in any direction. (New shoes?)

Cancer: Armed and dangerous, Cancer. And the mirror doesn’t hate you either. Feel free to indulge that other side of Cancer. Hide out. Solitude is your friend and resource. Should help you get in touch with all you’ve got to work with and those big secret desires that keep the forward momentum interesting. No need to share more than you want too. Not at all. You keep your boundaries. “Yes, please.” Or “No, thank you.” It’s up to you. (Write it out or cut it up.)

Leo: My goal for you this moon, Leo, is grace and balance. If you’re feeling pulled in a few too many directions, keep hold of that sturdy center. Don’t go into denial about anything, rather identify those things which may be working against you and see if you can’t figure out a way to turn them around. Or change course. With maximum feline grace. You get what you give. Give your best with the greatest possible wisdom. Excellent returns on that and benefits all around. (Have a seat.)

Virgo: Somebody likes you. Really likes you. They may not know you fully in all your private, enigmatic details. But what they seem to know appears almost other worldly. Something slightly ancient, weirdly cosmic. They adore what they see and would like to understand the rest. And they are temptingly close to your meticulously high standards. Welcome pleasure and reflection with a precious other. (Maybe with wine?)

Libra: If I could, Libra, this horoscope would reach you with soaring symphonies. You are in a very powerful place. It’s been a long time coming. It’s almost as if you could reach out your hand into the great stirring cosmic soup and pull out exactly what you want. Start with what you need. You’ve had plenty of time to consider that. Try not to over think it. It’s okay to believe in your needs– and receive their fulfillment. (Spell it with neon.)

Scorpio: You seem tougher than ever and more gracious. Nothing’s breaking your stride and you have been incredibly clear in your communication. Trying your best anyway. Time to rethink home, maybe. If it gets messy you have the strength to rise above. Your goals are keeping everything in healthy perspective. Trust your intuition. Allow it great authority. You’re allowed mistakes, but more than likely you’re doing the right thing. For now. Be flexible, but no compromising if it brings you down. (Enjoy wind and high places.)

Sagittarius: Endless possibilities, Sag. It may seem difficult to know where to go from here. If you feel like you’re in a bit of a bind, (Lots of squaring action in Virgo.) now might be a good time to assess your priorities. They should be taking on a new clarity. And until you make some important decisions, you’re not going anywhere. And that is rather unlike you. There’s no rush, although you may find progress in attending to your dreams, the quieter, subtler messages. Affirmations come there. (Sleep on it.)

Capricorn: Peachy keen. Things are good. A little bit of shifting and unexpected surprises, but still quite dreamy. Let’s not burst the bubble. P.S. I miscalculated Jupiter direct last week. Look for that forward momentum to come on in early September. Plan something magical for next month, around the tenth. (Maybe a song? Sing along? Soundtrack?)

Aquarius: You’re distracted by something that no longer serves you. Don’t get stuck on it. With your intelligence you place your hopes and beliefs quite carefully, but... I think if you could just detach a bit and explore some other options by tapping into that quirky, out of the box thinking of yours... something much better may come along. (Look up!)

Pisces: Time to start cultivating your visions of winter. We want you warm, rested, cozy, gently and lovingly supported. What do you need to do now to make that happen? Let’s focus on health. Physical and financial. Consider changing up some habits that maybe aren’t that sustaining. (New coat?)

* ** ***
Elizabeth Travelslight is an October Scorpio with a Gemini rising and a Virgo moon. She has been studying tarot and astrology since 1996. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, she has a B.A. in Pure Mathematics from the University of California at Santa Cruz and almost has her M.A. in Communication, with an emphasis on poetry and contemporary philosophy, from the European Graduate School in Saas Fee, Switzerland.

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”
-William Shakespeare

I feel like most of you readers are pretty savvy folks who don't need "how-to" horoscope instructions. But since I’m still feeling new to the whole horoscope scene, here is a friendly disclaimer...

Like the horoscopes? Need some more perspective? There is definitely a bigger picture. Individual tarot and astrology consultations are available. (They make great gifts too!) Check out this website for more information.


more celan


with the swarm of
black stars pushing them–
selves out and away:

on to the ram's silicified forehead.
I brand this image between
the horns, in which,
in the song of the whorls, the
marrow of melted
heart-oceans swells.

to what
does he not charge?

The world is gone, I must carry you.

-Paul Celan

glittering charms

"Despite all efforts to tame it, manage it, control it, outsmart it, language resists your best efforts; language is still a bunch of sturdy, glittering charms in the astonished hand.

A utopia of possibility. A utopia of choice.

And I am huddled around the fire of the alphabet, still."


Farewell Osento!

-Monique Wittig, Les Guérillères
The Osento Bathhouse for Women, one of my great sanctuaries in the city for many, many years, closed its doors for good yesterday. I had shown up early that afternoon to meet a close friend and then realized what was going on. It felt too emotional to say goodbye forever to a place that has provided me with such consistent healing. I opted for denial instead and decided to just enjoy and appreciate every last sweaty naked minute. I proceeded directly to the deck to work on my Osento Memorial Sunburn. By late afternoon the ladies were piled up happy as sea lions at Pier 39.

I know a lot of people who don't get naked. I'm not one of those. When appropriate- the euro-hippie girl in me- likes naked. Naked in the sun. Naked in the water. Naked hugging a tree. Shameless. Osento is the only place in San Francisco where it's safe to get naked and be in the sun. I like clothes too, but there is something awesome about nothing coming between me and the glory of sunshine.

And to see other women naked, many ages, many races, varying sexualites- that goes deep. Without places like Osento, some women, might not ever know what actual women look like. The bombardment of fake images of photoshopped women is so overwhelming and really skews the perception of "reality." That's Women's Studies 101, I know. But the effect of theory does not compare with the effect of reality. I love to actually see women enjoying and tending to all our curvy, flawed, tatooed, hairy, variety. It's beautiful– and healthy. I know it's been good for my self esteem to experience what real women look like. Makes me less prone to the propaganda.

The afternoon brought up a lot of memories of the closing of Herland in Santa Cruz (for which I got the tattoo above). It reminded me of how precious and incredibly valuable women's spaces have been in my life over the last many years and how difficult they are to establish and maintain. I know that the increased queering of gender has really complicated the concept of women's space. Osento's policies with respect to transgender were old fashioned, in part, I think, because Osento is old. Right out of the 1970s book of first world lesbian feminism. Women's spaces as healing places need to last and it's a struggle. I applaud the fact that Osento endured sufficient years to welcome my naked butt from the 90s until yesterday. I did hear a rumor, while I was in the sauna, about a community organization called Soak and just found this. Sounds like some folks are getting together the political will to develop a new community-style bathhouse with a more flexible gender policy. Yeah!

More than anything I just wanted to honor the passing of a place that has provided me with serious sanctuary. Osento is a place where I'd meet friends to relax and catch up on our busy lives. On several occassions, I've practically crawled to Osento, when the day to day world started to feel unbearable, all wrong, too tense, noisy, lonely, fragile, and crooked– like when PMS gets a bit hazardous. Osento took care of me. Really good care. And rather than be sad, (I am of course.) I just want to be grateful for the many years that it was there, for all the totally random, wonderful conversations, the very necessary healing moments, the awkward while naked customer sightings ("Don't you work at Rainbow?"), the golden glowing womb-like enclosure of the sauna, the intense heat and meditation, the smell of Olbas and the sharing of Epsom salt, my friend's hands gentle on my back, the thrill of the cold plunge, the familiar ding of the doorbell, Yvonne ever dazzling behind the desk, the blue tiles, the quiet room, cut limes, the sun deck, all the women, the layers of voices, and so many awesome tattoos! I never left Osento without feeling that I had recovered my deepest sanity from the obscurity of an occasionally complicated and fucked up world.

I went back later that evening with another friend. I figured I may as well. Closed is closed. And there was a very, very, crowded farewell party going on, only half the people were naked, which was kind of funny, and there was hardly any room in the saunas or tubs. Luckily, we managed a good twenty minutes in the little sauna and some socializing from the cold plunge. I overheard discussion of a Valencia Street midnight streak, but I don't know if it ever happened...

I woke up this morning and the first thing I thought was how nice it was to sit in the sun at Osento yesterday. My skin felt so yummy. The second thing I thought was maybe I'll go back and do it again today... but I guess not.


artifacts mere

from mere life in an unexpected manner, p. 17
Elizabeth Travelslight

xvii is quoted from the lectures of Jean-Luc Nancy


Your Leo New Moon Horoscope

Where we are...the dots.
Click, print, color, count and connect! The new moon may bring the hectic summer energy down just a bit. Some midsummer grounding won't hurt, although city dwellers may feel a bit reluctant. The lunar darkness is a celestially scheduled reminder to shut our own eyes and assess our roots and inner world. Leo, however, is ruled by the sun– that big bright burning ball of fire that is the center of our universe. It’s all about shining our light and finding the courage to put ourselves out there. The task of a Leo new moon may well be this: Trace your wiring to be sure all systems are go for maximum illumination. (Sing along..."This little light of mine. I'm gonna let it shine...") Check in with yourself. Fill your own cup. Consider your creative talents, those things that when you share them make you feel most alive. Take an ego trip. Pat yourself on the back. That burning individuality is the most precious gift we have to offer. Best tempered, of course, with compassion and reason and reality. We are all stars. Fill another’s cup. And another’s. (At least two.) Give praise generously and sincerely to those whose gifts have enhanced your own life. (Mercury and Venus in Leo make it easy.) Take no one for granted, including yourself. We all deserve every good thing– time to play, meaningful work, abundant resources, loving relationships, great health, delicious food, honest praise. Summer, especially, is ripe with opportunity to share and make the good things grow.

cheers, *elizabeth**

P.S. “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” That'd be Shakespeare. I feel like most of you readers are pretty savvy folks who don't need "how-to" horoscope instructions. But since I’m still feeling new to the whole horoscope scene. (This one makes five!) You're invited to read my friendly disclaimer so you know where I'm trying to come from... click here.
thanks, *e

The new moon in Leo (09°32') is on Friday, August 1st at 3:12 AM PDT. Pace yourself. (Or not!) Lots of summertime left!

Aries: Ah, satisfaction is sweet! This new moon wants you to sit back and appreciate the result of some sustained patient effort. (A brief pause in your headlong drive.) Something you’ve been nurturing a while. Congratulate yourself on your commitment and accomplishments thus far and then consider carefully the next few steps since it’s not quite ready yet. It’s nice so far though, isn’t it? How can it be refined? What would make it even better? More enjoyable? There’s a finishing touch that will really fulfill your vision and possibly earn you the acknowledgement and admiration you’ve been hoping for.

Taurus: Looking good, Taurus! Very good. You’ve been making tough decisions, but the there’s no arguing with the results. Now is the time to really consider your creative vision and not to compromise it for anyone. There is something you’d really like to try. Something new? Try writing it down. Just to give it form. Then share it, later, with someone you trust. See what they have to say or what they may have to contribute. It’s still your vision, but I think others would like to see it too. Makes it more real. There’s no hurry. Take your time. Hide out at home for now. You’ll know when it’s ready to take flight.

Gemini: This is not a time for indecision and over thinking, but a time to sit and be in the wisdom of your experience. What have you learned so far Gemini? Try not to be distracted by other people and their opinions just now. Write down seven things you know for sure. Things you don’t bother to flip flop over anymore. It’s time for a little discipline and an assessment of your own research. A time will come when you will really have to stand by what you say. You have the knowledge to back it up. Do what you need to feel super confident about it. It involves being flexible, but firm, and doing your homework.

Cancer: Home is where the heart is. No matter how much fun the great big world has to offer. There is no place like home. Every cliché about home seems to apply to you. No matter where the moon is. It goes without saying. This new moon is beckoning you to deal with the material world and home, for you, is likely a good place to start. But only to start. You’ve got some twitchy feet. Places to go. The summer is presenting you with new goals, new enthusiasm, some destination. And it feels right. There’s always risk with change, but you’re too smart to do something unless it makes perfect sense. Your body knows. Trust your instincts. Listen. You hear them best at home, in bed even. When you’re ready, put yourself out there. Full gallop.

Leo: Ta da! Finally. It’s your season. Fuddy-duddy Saturn has rolled on and you’re feeling refreshed. Stronger than ever. New and improved. You were already pretty great. But who’s to argue with better? More refined? More intelligent? This new moon is yours to cultivate that strength with gentle courage. Something quiet. You don’t have to stay quiet, but for now, let’s work on a combination of determination and subtlety. Plenty of time to outshine the sun later. Just don’t want you burning out, losing perspective, or getting cranky. We need you to show everyone else exactly how true sustained brilliance is done. No problem.

Virgo: Whoa. Zen much? A lot going on for you, I’m guessing. Your intuition is right, if it’s telling you to hide out, hole up, do that hermit thing you do. Nothing to be ashamed of. Chances are good that the world demands much from you right now, but you need to recharge that inner source that supplies your incredible capacity to give. Don’t lose that light. So do what you need to do to get some peace and quiet. Your precious alone time. You’ve earned it. You are earning it. All this action in Leo is really lighting up something that you might only be able to see with your eyes closed. Let everyone know you’ll get back to them later. And take your time.

Libra: Looking around, are things the way you expected? Not exactly. Knowing you, they’re still pretty damn good, but something you had hoped for got lost along the way. Every week it seems there’s some astrological sign I’m supposed to remind to cry a little. (Or a lot. Up to you.) Sorry, sweet Libra, it’s your turn. You are so good at seeing the positive and sharing the positive. Intellectualizing loss and change. Moving forward. Being the best friend to others. But let’s tend to your own tender heart this new moon. You’re feelings don’t need to be reasonable or justified. Letters you never have to send. But write it out anyway. Sprinkle them with magic tears and burn them in a sacred fire. Something is exhausted and needs to be acknowledged and released. Good things always follow. Especially you.

Scorpio: Go! Don’t stop. Go! Don’t look back. Go! No rest. No waiting. No mulling it over. If you were stuck before, you’re not anymore. Something’s clicked. This is a rare opportunity, the opportunity, for a too oft stuck in the mud Scorpio. Do not let it pass you by. Please! Go! Between now and your birthday, you could get a whole hell of a lot done. Don’t question it. Don’t feel it out. You’ve done all that already. That's mostly what you've been doing. You know what the goal is, what purpose it serves. All this Leo-ness is lighting up your big ambitions. It does not get any clearer. You know how to get there. You know! Go! Now! While the wind has your back. It’s makes the ride all the smoother. Go. Enjoy it.

Sagittarius: You wear responsibility so well. Who knew the weight of the world could be kind of enjoyable. We wouldn’t be counting on you quite so much, if we didn’t want you to, need you to, brand our lives with your special flare of for fun, fabulousness, and frank truths. A lot is resting on those lovely shoulders and you make it look effortless. Pluto’s been cramping your style for more than a decade. Not that it shows. We'd never guess. You handle adversity with little complaint and surprising cheer. But you’ve been bearing the brunt of some powerfully deep soul mutations for more than a decade! You’re about to graduate, Sagittarius. The results are going to be stunning, I suspect. Hold your ground and attend to your empire. Where to from here? Pluto moves 'round your next birthday. It's not too early to start planning a celebration. Might help take the edge off when its rough.

Capricorn: Jeez! You are an unstoppable force. This summer, your plate is full! And you like it. No need to rein it in. So long as you’ve got good hold of the reins. Fly if you want to. Just don’t fly off. That checking-in stuff I mentioned up above applies to you too, but you’ll manage it on the run, I think. It just doesn’t make sense to tell you to sit quietly. Jupiter shines upon you, inviting you to expand all of your possibilities. It’s been retrograde since April, but moves direct on August 7th. Unless they’re along for the ride, best remind everyone (politely) to get out of your way. You’re so inspired you sparkle. Prepare for the kind of luck you're looking for. It looking for you too.

Aquarius: Cool and comfortable. That’s how I see you Aquarius. Folks may be easily carried away by summer madness, but you are keeping it real while still making the most of the lovely season. Grounded. Generous. Companionable. Homemade. Neighborly. I keep going on about that sort of secret something your hatching. You’ve been so patient, I’m losing patience! But you’re confident that all things will reveal themselves in their right time. There’s no hurry. Don’t be surprised if many turn to you for friendship. Your solid insight and good humor will benefit others. This new moon may invite new or renewed romance... Careful what you wish for!

Pisces: A lot of horoscope writing is giving permission for the obvious. It's helpful. To you, wonderful Pisces, I give permission to be a Pisces. You’re free! Unbounded. Hardly embodied. Everywhere and nowhere. Wherever. You pretend often for the sake of others, to be holding it all together, like the rest of us, to join us. Right, now, you don’t need to. The best part is, no one will notice. In fact, they’ll love you all the more for being your intuitive, irrational, oceanic, dreamy, brilliant, strange, fluctuating, ultra sensitive, gorgeously responsive, dumb luck, fishy self. You'll find a wonderful strength and integrity to be admired in that too. Be emotional. You’re not going to lose yourself, but gain yourself, in letting go. In case of emergency, your beauty is your best defense. We are powerless against it.

* ** ***
Like the horoscopes? Need some more perspective? There is definitely a bigger picture. Elizabeth Travelslight has been studying tarot and astrology for over ten years! Individual tarot and astrology consultations are available. (They make great gifts too!) Contact Elizabeth at etravelslight@gmail.com or check out



The militant of a truth is not only the political militant working for the emancipation of humanity in its entirety. He or she is also the artist creator, the scientist who opens up a new theoretical field, or the lover whose world is enchanted.
-Alain Badiou


Cixous! Cixous! Cixous!

Writing: as if I had the urge to go on enjoying, to feel full, to push, to feel the force of my muscles, and my harmony, to be pregnant and at the same time to give myself the joys of parturition, the joys of both the mother and the child. To give birth to myself and to nurse myself, too. Life summons life. Pleasure seeks renewal.
-Hélène Cixous


Big Pictures

Brightnesses, Densities, Comparisons

The Earth at Night:

Global Population Density:

(Click the images to see 'em bigger.)


poetry moment...


Your hair waves once more when I weep. With the blue of your eyes
you lay the table of love: a bed between summer and autumn.
We drink what somebody brewed, neither I nor you nor a third:
we lap up some empty and last thing.

We watch ourselves in the deep sea's mirrors and faster pass
food to the other:
the night is the night, it begins with the morning,
beside you it lays me down.

-Paul Celan


Your Capricorn Full Moon Horoscope

I just have to say that the Cancer/Capricorn full moon is one of my all time favorites– the absolute heights of summer time. Everything just seems to hum with enjoyment. Seems like everywhere I turn, it’s good food, good friends, good music. Jupiter, hanging big and bright right next to the moon on Thursday night adds further pleasure and indulgence to the summer festivities. We're fat with the good life! Feels like endless summer 2008. Anyone going on a trip? Venus stepping out into Leo certainly doesn’t hurt either. Me-ow! And purrrrrrrr... Here kitty- kitty! Should help take the edge off Mars and Saturn in Virgo, making things not only focused, practical, determined and bull-sh*t free (Out of the way with that yucky funk!), but eagerly romantic too. Win-win. Now might be a good time for everyone to update their wardrobe– just a little something to match your great ambitions– the ones that serve you and those around you... We're all gonna be putting ourselves out there. Best foot forward, folks. Why not?

Again, all my heart feelings, *elizabeth**

The full moon in Capricorn (28°04') is on Friday, July 18th at 12:59 AM PDT. Look up on Thursday night!

Aries: Maybe it’s that Venus in Leo but you are suddenly in the mood for love. The really watery, soul kind. It’s coming across as brave and uncontainable and drawing all kinds of people to you, possibly, but not limited to, a special someone. Look to this full moon for career inspiration and insight into home. You have so much to give and the will to give it. Where will you go from here? Some place with swimming, maybe.

Taurus: Full moon is drawing your attentions inward. Time to think a few things over. Review the last three months at least. Lick wounds and try to put things in place, a rearrangement that you can live with and lets you move on. Don’t get stuck. Think in a way that brings you peace and moves you forward. You know when you’re spinning the same old wheels. It makes you tired and that’s not right. Ponder thoughts with traction.

Gemini: How many pennies you got there, butterfly? Don’t let your finances weigh you down. All the riches in the world are no good if you don’t feel free. So how do you handle your finances in a way that is liberating? Without calling your survival into question? Think flow, gardens, and investment. The full moon is showing you your heart's desire and seems like you’ve got the resources to make it happen. No doubt, you doubt. It’s your nature. But big magic means big decisions and you’ve been thinking bigger than ever. Place your bets, make your play, and don’t look back.

Cancer: Goodness! What a whirlwind you’ve been. Thanks. I want you to imagine this full moon opening up right inside your head/heart. Your dance card fills up fast, but you’ll get a lot out of just a few moments of quality alone time. Get in touch with your inner resources. Clean house (metaphorical and literal) and recharge. Bit more summer left. Don’t want you burning out on us. So make sure you’re taking care of you, too.

Leo: So much to do, you. Enough, it seems, for several lifetimes. There is no apparent reason to rein it in. Go on then. Throw yourself out there. Full gallop. I seriously doubt there is anything you can’t handle right now. You’re accessing even deeper (higher?) sources of inspiration. It’s like a brand new world/you. Take care of your health, listen to your body, and you’ll been unstoppable for weeks. No one can resist you. Careful.

Virgo: You know Saturn is in your sign ‘til July 2010, right? Try not to look so excited. More than any other sign, you’ll not only get a lot out of this often difficult transit, you might kind of enjoy it. Oooh discipline! You know that the difficult paths can be the most rewarding. You relish the challenge. How much can you take? Look in the mirror and be honest with yourself. You are capable of incredible service and sacrifice, BUT we can’t have you losing yourself in the process. You’re contributions will be greatest if you can manage equal portions of devotion to yourself and everyone else. You first. Got it?

Libra: Write much? Blogging? TV Show? Some way, some how, your message needs to get out there. The things you have to say are exactly the things that need to be heard. Try it. There is little need for self-doubt or self-censorship. You’re too good of a communicator. Even when you’re worried that you’ve said the wrong thing, know you’ve said the right thing– so long as it’s your truth. You’ve gotten strong this summer. Say what you feel and stand up for your beliefs. Wisdom has your back.

Scorpio: I know. You’re having a good time too. Who isn’t? And when those around you are feeling it, it just frees you up to feel even more. You’re open and sensitive, without the dangerously vulnerable defensive part. It’s the season. I don’t want to break your stride, so try not to be distracted by what I’m about to say. Let’s consider the winter and where you see yourself 6 months from now. It has everything to do with where you are now. When things start to feel chaotic this summer and this delicious wave starts to break up a bit, focus on your goals for the winter. What’s important should become clear. Endless summer is just a reminder to appreciate the moment as fully as possible.

Sagittarius: If you’re feeling particularly in charge– it’s because you are. Keep speaking your mind. Don’t hold that brilliance back. It takes some courage, but if you encounter criticism, you’ve got the chops to hold your own. You’re independent, resourceful, gorgeous, and whip crackin’ smart– sharp enough right now to really do some damage, even. Try to let that higher mind guide you and make sure you’re getting adequate support and generous outlets for your enormous powers of persuasion. Anything that denies you your fullest self-expression needs to be addressed. You’re in charge. Doesn’t mean you can’t compromise. Just means you don’t have to. You’re enough. Know what I mean?

Capricorn: This full moon shines upon you, especially. See how well you can relax and really get a sense of what supports you. It will make everything feel more generous. Let love and enjoyment guide you. Plenty of time to get the work work done later. Sure it's important, but yesterday was just not a realistic deadline anyway. Certainly do what needs to be done. But what absolutely needs to be done might not be what you think it is. It involves communication, celebration, and a few (3?) closest to you. Maybe some wine. Invite the moon light into your home. Look around and be thankful. Cheers!

Aquarius: Pow! So much light. So much solar heat. The summer is often about seemingly unstoppable forces. Right now, you are the queen of them all. (Dear Aquarius, you’re thinking is sufficiently advanced, that even if you don’t identify as a woman, I know you recognize a queen in you still.) Rule your lands with care and enthusiasm. You’re a vision of strength and compassion, joy and unlimited potential. No doubts. Don’t let a short temper keep you from staying above petty conflict. Save that temper for the real battle. Social change! Justice! A better world! The FUTURE! It’s all about the big picture and your rightful place within it. Don’t sell yourself short.

Pisces: Life is good! Let it be good. I’m sure if you put your mind to it, you could turn up something to brood about. But this moon is all about a focus on the positive. There’s plenty of that too. You’ve made some kind of break through. Remember those tears we talked about? You’re on the other side of them now. Enjoy everything. As much as possible. Find a way to play and people to play with. Play. Not duty. Play is your duty. Even if you have to sneak it in at work. Laugh and listen closely to the sound. Try to laugh a little longer than you think you should. It’s good for those around you too. It ripples right around the earth even. The kids especially appreciate it.


Surprise Music Review! Top Critters

I'm not sure I'm remotely qualified to be writing music reviews. I'm not a musician. Nor what I consider to be a particularly critical listener. My ear is rather underdeveloped compared to the many more musical around me. My experience of music is pretty raw and uneducated. I'm not an insider by any stretch of the term. So take my amateur hack opinions for what they're worth. Anything with a danceable beat pretty much goes straight to my butt. Anything else that's going to move me, either has to hit me on a visceral, emotional level that I don't consciously understand but find myself responding to regardless and/or have some bright insightful lyrics that really light up my imagination. Between work, family, school- I hardly have any time to attend shows. I only really try to make it out for bands I already know I love, so it is increasingly rare for me to encounter new live music that really thrills me. But...

Just my luck! Last night at the Balazo Gallery in a surprise birthday party line up for Citizen Hero guitar player Jason Coffey, I heard the Top Critters play for my first time ever and could not have been more pleasantly surprised. In truth, I kind of geeked out on them. It's so seldom that I randomly come across a band that I really like– and I really f*cking adored them. They're a five piece instrumental band, no vocalist- but Phil Dumesnil, taking bow to banjo or hugging that accordian, makes them sing just as sweet. Between him and Asa Sanchez on the organ/piano, they don't need a vocalist.

Their sound is achingly melodic, a whole range of sentiments pouring out, rich, nostalgic, haunting- but not too sad, orchestral, playful, and at times even slightly suggesting some whispers of industrial noisy compassion. Maybe? There's an unexpectedly cool folky lightness achieved in the rhythm and melodies when combined with a pervasive density that seems inevitably urban, a little tough and gently crushing, night lit, and contemporary. Something like that? Anyway, my kind of shit to a T. Like I said, I geeked out. The musicians filled the space beautifully, a kind of rare "just-so" gig, with tripping melodies, uncountable humming strings, and well laced, gorgeously executed rhythms from Andy Pitman on the bass and the-future's-so-bright Chris Gonzales inhabiting the drums. I love an amplified acoustic guitar in the hands of a loving guitarist. Mike Dineen did not disappoint. Top Critters were deliciously loud and the levels were clear, allowing the resonance to just fill me to the brim, worry free, and carry my rather heavily stoned spirit away. Between all the punk and hip hop that predominates most of the accidental live music I encounter, I feel sometimes like I'd give blood just hear a long thoughtful melody, just for the sake of long thoughtful melodies.

The folk instruments tap freely into all that american traditional stuff, but Top Critters innovates those sounds into incredibly creative, ardent explorations. It's unashamedly pretty and very smart. They've been together in various combinations for a couple of years. (So they say.) They sound incredibly tight, professional but effortless, not over-rehearsed, like they still genuinely listen and respond to each other when they play- in a way that suggests some musical mind melding miracle where they're just making this perfectly proportioned stuff up as they go along.

Top Critters remind me of some of my favorite amplified, heavy melody, instrumentalists but part of my geek-out factor was how uniquely they pull their own compositions together. For the sake of references (which I draw from a pretty limited pool), I'll say a little Tortoise, El Ten Eleven, the more acoustic/melodic moments of Yo La Tengo, and maybe you caught the Clark Brothers winning last season's contest of "The Next Great American Band" ? They remind my much more musically wired boyfriend of "Mogwai with a hint Secret Chiefs Three style melodies." In addition, they were very nice guys. They took my unexpectedly gushing geek-out fandom in stride, justifiably proud, but blushing and unassumingly modest.

The Balazo was a perfectly sized venue, all dark with warm dreamy lightings, and a perfectly sized, unsuspecting, happily gathered together, crowd. The staff there were super kind, laid back but in charge, and my $6 mojito was the best I've had in many a moon.

DUDE!– and they play TONIGHT!
7PM @ Thrillhouse Records
3422 Mission Street, SF. All Ages. Admission by donations.

Score! Top Critters downloads available on their MySpace...
Hear them for yourself!

Top Critters are: Mike Dineen - acoustic guitar, 12-string guitar (ex-M.D. 20/20, ex-Smirk). Phil Dumesnil - accordian, banjo, slide whistle (Foibles, Best Pals). Chris Gonzales - percussion (Gargantula, Gibbs, ex-Comets on Fire). Andy Pitman - bass (Tall Can, Manger), Asa Sanchez - organ/piano (ex-Smote the Giant), Lee Tom - TBA (ex-M.D. 20/20, Gibbs).


Precarious Life

"The body implies mortality, vulnerability, agency: the skin and flesh expose us to the gaze of others, but also to touch, and to violence, and bodies put us at risk of becoming the agency and instrument of all of these as well. Although we struggle for rights over our own bodies, the very bodies for which we struggle are not quite ever only our own. The body has its invariably public dimension. Constituted as a social phenomenon in the public sphere, my body is and is not mine. Given over from the start to the world of others, it bears their imprint, is formed within the crucible of social life; only later, and with some uncertainty, do I lay claim to my body as my own, if, in fact, I ever do. Indeed, if I deny that prior to the formation of my 'will,' my body related me to others whom I did not choose to have in proximity to myself, if I build a notion of 'autonomy' on the basis of the denial of this sphere of a primary and unwilled physical proximity with others, then am I denying the social conditions of my embodiment in the name of autonomy."
-Judith Butler, Precarious Life


Only Children Only

It's difficult, maybe futile at times, to tease out what behaviors and personality quirks are caused exactly by what. Formed by countless, obvious and subtle occurrences, prenatal givens, singular events, and continuous repetitions, we're a mix, a montage, a mash-up– works in progress. Only children are like everybody else. Birth rolls you a lot in life and you make do with what you get, test and improvise the rest, and hopefully continue to arrive at more than merely satisfactory results.

The skills, habits, and ticks that children develop in childhood as a consequence of their family structures obviously run deep. They form the literally innate patterns upon which all subsequent patterns are designed. This is why the shrink would like you to talk about your childhood, right? So, I am comfortable with the idea that being an only child plays a significant and often subconscious part in how I orient myself in the world, what I easily know, and what I need to try to unknow. As I get older, I more easily recognize "only children" in other adults. I see it, respect it, and I totally relate.

What I relate to in other adult only children is way cooler and beyond the frequently deployed grass-is-greener accusations of selfish, spoiled, or self-centered. The whole terrain of psychology, birth order, childhood development, personality, stereotypes, etc. is shifty business. It involves broad generalizations and inherently frequent exceptions which quickly devolves into a collapsed system of accusations and defensiveness. Not really the game I am interested in. Neuroses and bad habits are a buffet. Take your pick, help yourself– siblings or none. I'm more into honest accounting and generous assessments, with myself and others, a simple relaxed comfort in gently deepening my under-standings, welcoming the skin I'm in, the world we're in, and the woman I hope to become.

What I love about only children is the unique depth and sturdiness of our self-sufficiency, the intricately refined intelligence of our oh-so-remote little worlds, and the hilariously sensitive intensities upon which we develop and maintain our relationships. Other people and social interaction are necessary options, welcome, valued– but not an always agreeable norm. I easily default toward the consistency and comfort of solitude, my own reliable company. I crave companionship and demand privacy in mixed and sometimes unpredictable portions. My middle grounds, for better or worse, do not come very wide. Cat-like, I love attention, but only when I want attention and often I do not. But when I want attention, yes, I love attention! Only children develop a very low tolerance for boredom and have little patience for pretending something interests them when it does not. However, they have a way of holding their heads and attending to what does interests them, focused, deliberate, and self-assured, with complete attention, fully present and utterly receptive, vulnerably pressed right up against the very surface limits of themselves, senses open– but ready to turn and shut the doors with hardly a moments notice. When we are involved we involve ourselves whole heartedly. We adore with confidence and commitment, compassion and genuine enthusiasm. And of course, if something goes wrong, it is most certainly our fault, so we are very good at accepting responsibility for every event gone wrong, big or small.

I've loved it. I've hated it. I live with it. Still I have so much to learn from it. More often, I just want to laugh about it! train mama makes me laugh...


Your Cancer New Moon Horoscope

Mars joins Saturn in Virgo while the new moon in Cancer builds to a full moon in Capricorn. Now more than ever we may feel motivated to get things done by separating the distractions from our true goals and obligations. We find that we are capable of tremendous focus and commitment. What are you gonna do about how you feel? What needs to get done? If things start to feel frustrating check-in and let that sense of community service lead the way.

I'm home from the Philippines and the astrologist is in! Private tarot and astrology consultations are now available. E-mail me to make an appointment...
P.S. Your feedback fuels this whole endeavor. I'm listening... please let me know how it's working out on your end!

The new moon in Cancer
(11° 32') is exact Wednesday, July 2 at 7:18 PM PDT.

Aries: Just say “No!” To what? Only you know the answer. Something is seriously stuck and the more of that beautiful love and enthusiasm you keep pouring into it, the more backed up things seems to get... Sucks. You’re overindulging someone or something and it just isn’t going anywhere. It’s getting funky. Don’t ignore what you can tell is true. You need some fresh flow into the system. Space. New actions. Creative re-direction. The new moon is drawing you home in more ways than one... Drink lots of water.

Taurus: Inspired much? You or someone close to you is trail blazing through life- alive and on fire. Feeling the summer heat, maybe? Run with it. Run with them. And write it down. Clarity is yours. All that energy combined with your Taurean strength and determination makes you nearly unstoppable. You’ve shed some old skins. And the new one feels good! Be sure you put yourself in places and situations where you’ve got plenty of room to shine, shout, and run, if necessary. If you feel challenged, that’s a good thing. It’s just a test and you’ll pass, colors flying.

Gemini: Time to count your pennies Gemini. Big money starts with little money. A new opportunity is looking for you. Are you ready? Healthy? The new moon wants you to deal with your stuff. Get grounded in the material world, finances, home, work, body. You can and should keep talking about it, of course, but you have to start doing something about it too! Make a move. The possibilities for a new kind of richness in your life are great! A little attention to the ground and the lightness and heights you crave will arise.

Cancer: Everyone loves a Cancer in season. Suddenly all the ups and downs make so much sense! All that time alone is actually drawing people closer to you. (In a good way.) And those weighty burdens maybe starting to feel and look a little like heaven on earth. It’s been hard work in your own watery way, but the results are showing beautifully. Don’t get too critical about it. It’s already a great improvement. And don’t go away just yet. You’re in a generous place and those around you need your special brand of love.

Leo: Sadness goes around. Tears and loss are normal and healthy. It’s the getting stuck and ignoring our feelings that starts to wreck havoc. It’s your turn this time, Leo, to shed a few heartfelt tears over something that was lost or didn’t work out quite the way you had hoped. Damn it! It maybe obvious or possibly hidden in those deeper, darker, less conscious places. When was the last time you gave those shadows of yours a look? Everyone who reads these horoscopes is automatically granted permission to cry whenever, wherever, and about whatever they need to- but you especially, great Leo. Your reluctance is not surprising. However, nothing will fall apart if you let go the royal duties for a moment and tend to your sadness with a few licks and tears. Also, nothing requires you to do it alone.

Virgo: Be sure to turn that tension into creative discipline and you’ll be fine. Better than fine. But it will take some alchemical effort on your part to turn things around. You’ve got a lot of energy at the moment, but if it lacks healthy expression, fights may ensue. Take that frustration and make it constructive. It’s possible that things are so challenging and volatile at the moment that you feel blinded by anger. That’s an opportunity to get in touch with what you really want, need, desire. That kind of clarity is a gift. Take it. Keeping your noblest end goals in sight are the best way not to lose perspective. Fortunately you have a whole network of like minded humnitarians to remind you what those are if you momentarily forget. Children especially.

Libra: Ah! Perspective at last... The big big picture has come into greater focus. Heaven and Earth. The Material and Immaterial. The Self and Other. Those irreconcilable differences are starting to find their just right places and the harmony you always work so hard for is able to emerge with even greater fullness. This is what you have been waiting for. It’s all about keeping that widest possible scope without losing any of the details you love. Study a river or lay back under a clear night sky to remind you, if you start to forget. But I don’t think you will. It rings too true and feels too good.

Scorpio: To everything turn, turn. How are you keeping up with the changes? Luck is everywhere, but it’s up to you whether to invite the good kind or the other kind. Listen to your head, your heart, and your body. When they all agree, that’s the opening you’re looking for. You’ll need to relax in order to trust. And try not to run over those closest to you. It shouldn’t be hard. Those folks are around you for a reason. They’re a part of your good fortune. Include them. Welcome the lightening of possible storms. Also women. They’ll provide good guidance. Ease. Patience. Intuition. And good luck.

Sagittarius: Anxiety just isn’t your color, honey. You need to change the way you’ve been handling your business. Feeling stuck, silent, and insecure is very unlike you. It’s possible that you’re making do with less and this worries you. Or you’re more reliant upon others when you prefer the certainty of self-reliance. You need to communicate clearer terms with your partners, employers, and financial backers. Make a list of the things you really need, as opposed to the things you really want and you may find the situation is not so serious. We love that you love to indulge the good life, but let’s keep it sustainable. It’s not really worthwhile if it you’re too stressed to fully enjoy it. What about indulging a little restraint, a little rest? You know- “Less is more.” Is that really true? Try to keep your wheels from spinning unnecessarily. What you want most actually doesn’t cost anything...

Capricorn: Well, aren’t you the creative one! The universe is on your side and even better– you are on your side. You’re finding ways to work well with others. Your balancing assertiveness with responsiveness and the results are awesome! Keep putting yourself out there. But also keep checking in with your motivations and best intentions. Make sure you’re putting out your best and not just the easiest. Now is not the time to kick back or lose focus. The point is to not get carried away and lose this magical chemistry. Now more than ever, that Capricorn discipline needs to keep pace with your ambition, so that all the work you’re putting in now will continue to pay off for years to come. When in doubt, wear green.

Aquarius: Party over here! Time to celebrate. You need to get all those wonderful people in your life together, not only to thank them and show your appreciation, but more importantly, so that they can thank you and show their appreciation, sending you off with joy toward the next big thing. Whatever conflicts stood in the way, no longer need to be obstacles. Either you’re over the conflict or have figured out a way to live with it. Regardless, you’ve arrived, you’re moving on. Both at the same time. Only you could manage both in the same move. Dress up. The world needs to see on the outside how cute you’re feeling on the inside.

Pisces: Hate to say it, but you’re maybe overindulging that really good thing. So much so, it’s not that enjoyable anymore. You need to know when to say when. It’s become a distraction and you could lose sight of the bigger picture. It feels good and you of all people deserve the good feelings, but... we need you healthy for what is yet to come! Moderation, please. Maybe a new really good thing just to mix it up. In order for that to happen though, you need to let the other indulgence go. Try letting everything go for a moment and see what that brings. Maybe now’s a good time to take care of the house...